EQLs or Ecosystem Qualified Leads are high-quality leads submitted by your channel partners in your partnership ecosystem. This is usually accomplished through data-sharing and often implies some sort of revenue-sharing system to reward your partners and resellers for providing these already warm leads.
Referral business is not a new thing. What is new are the systems and technology that are in place to allow you to maximize revenue through transparent and user-friendly channel management platforms.
This system allows introductions to new personas, businesses, markets, and verticals through accounts you may not previously have considered, thus boosting a stream of up to 30% or more of your total revenue that might be under-exploited or not exploited at all.
How to get EQLs into Your Pipeline
Where do You find Ecosystem Qualified Leads?
Before getting the EQLs into your pipeline, you need to have a partnership program or system in place. To do this you have to set up the right technology and processes to reach more companies that would fit your ideal partner profile. Through channel and affiliate partner development you can build outbound outreach cadences to identify and recruit the right partners to develop and grow the pipeline. The leads that these partners submit are EQL’s as they are sourced from your ecosystem of partners who may already be your clients or are people who resell your service or product. These are highly-valuable leads that you simply may not have considered targeting before for possible lack of manpower or your leadership does not see the value. .
Through your partnerships, you can shed light on these very coveted leads and open the gates to new business and revenue streams. Additionally, leads that are handed to you by your channel partners and affiliates come with highly advantageous features:
- - A clear sign that the partner referring the leads trusts you
- - High probability of the leads matching your Buyer Personas
- - Accelerated validation process
- - Reduced sales cycles
- - Business development opportunities
Efficiently managing your partner ecosystem is going to bring in a lot more business, which might mean expanding your sales team, customer service, support, etc. Having this unseen business space in mind when developing your partnerships helps you nurture your partnership ecosystem.
Plus, it requires little extra investment from your team as your partners will market your business to their leads through their internal teams. This is especially true in channel and reseller partnerships where launching market-ready strategies is relatively easy to do.
Getting EQLs into Your Funnel
Ecosystem Qualified Leads will open up your funnel to new businesses, markets, niches, and verticals you were not able to see or reach before. This becomes especially attractive due to the fact that being introduced by a common partner boosts the sales conversation to a much higher level otherwise impossible.
Plainly put, your leads enter your funnel later and go through it faster. There are different ways EQLs will get into your funnel. Let’s explore the most exciting ones.
Just like the name implies, a partner in your ecosystem will introduce you to a key contact who has probably heard good things about you already.
Previously done through email and other “uncontrolled” media, a partner shares one of their lists of clients with you. The best practice is to do this through a partner relationship management platform (PRM) that provides traceability, performance indicators, and other features to boost productivity.
A win-win situation. Through a reseller program your partner gets a commission for selling your product/service for you. Setting up a reseller program requires little effort from you, so revenue is maximized, and performance indicators help everyone involved have a clear view of the entire process.
Types of Ecosystem Qualified Leads
The term EQL includes two types of leads depending on the level of “awareness” raised by the partner providing you the lead.
Partner-Qualified Leads (Referral)
These are net new leads provided by a partner that has made little or no introduction of your business to the leads in question. Your business partner sent their info to you but didn’t provide them a warm introduction or recommendation.
Partner-Recommended Leads (Reseller)
The partner providing you with these leads has already warmed them up to your brand. This might have been done through internal marketing efforts, through co-marketing efforts, or through another means that makes the lead enter your funnel with high probabilities of converting.
How to Manage Your Ecosystem Qualified Leads
Being able to efficiently manage your partnership channels and your ecosystem qualified leads will help you build new revenue channels by empowering every partner to succeed. And their success is your success.
A partner relationship management platform (PRM) will allow you to better manage your EQLs to drive acquisition, retention, and revenue, beyond what's possible alone. This is what the fastest-growing SaaS companies are doing to boost that source of revenue.
To accomplish these goals, you have to be able to:
Scale multiple channels
Target every possible channel to close more deals, generate more leads, and/or bring more traffic to your target campaign by tracking partner links, leads, and deals.
Maximize partner performance
Use attractive reward structures, content, and other tools to generate more revenue from each partner with custom experiences for each.
Additionally, it’s important to measure your EQLs and partner channels in order to truly maximize performance.
Measuring and KPIs
When you measure EQL involvement in your sales pipeline, you’re gleaning insights into your customers’ personalities. Information along these lines has been limited in terms of general data availability, but you can still know which other businesses your customers may be transacting with.
This information alone can give you awesome insights—for example, does your target Sales Director shop with Patag
Information about your target users’ buying preferences allows you to hone your messaging and your brand to align with their needs. Millennial buyers (who now comprise the majority share of the workforce) often consider the morals and intent of brands in their buying process—not just personally, but as business leaders as well.
Much like traditional marketing and sales initiatives, Ecosystem-centric campaigns require clearly defined goals, selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and a semi-precise desired outcome in order to succeed. We also recommend choosing your network partners carefully, because their brand will reflect on yours to some degree.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Measuring EQLs
Effective KPIs do three things really well. KPIs are not intended to pull in massive scope data in one fell swoop, but to display granular information about specific portions of your problem-solution machine.
- - Effective KPIs will highlight what success looks like in each scenario.
- - The goal of effective KPIs is to show whether individual variable changes are working
- - Highlight the value of each qualifier in your ecosystem
Effective KPIs have been shown to boost the bottom line for businesses, but not because the act of measuring things innately has value. Perhaps the greatest (and least noted) benefit of KPIs is keeping communication aligned between people at all levels of a business.
Factory floor managers can see how a KPI such as “production errors” reflects on the quality of work in the same way a senior sales manager can. Both individuals can also see how these errors impact the company’s bottom line.
The Right Partners Do Make a Difference
Creating and nurturing a healthy ecosystem of partners will continuously feed your pipeline with highly valuable leads and prospects. Boosting this revenue stream is a matter of effectively and efficiently managing it.
The right partner to manage your partnerships channels can make a huge difference in terms of thoroughly and transparently exploiting this source of revenue. Our PRM partner, Partnerstack are experts in scaling multiple channels however if you want to explore more about how your bottom line can benefit from EQLs and Partner Channel Management, CloudTask is here to help.